Partners play a crucial role in furthering the growth agenda for NetApp
NetApp looks to continuously empowering its customers and partners to change the world with data. It is therefore investing in AI as it believes would be a good bet for its partners. It is with the help of its partners, NetApp plans to grow the commercial segment; expand its customer base as well as expand growth in cities or markets where it is currently not present. Kaushal Veluri, Director, Channels & Alliances - NetApp India & SAARC in a chat with VARINDIA throws more light on it -
The focus for NetApp for FY’20 will be on flash storage, hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) and cloud data services. Another focus will be to nurture and grow its relationships with existing partners and ensure that its growth reflects in their success as well.
Therefore it goes without saying that channel partners indeed are going to be very critical for NetApp. With the help of its partners, NetApp plans to grow the commercial segment; expand its customer base as well as expand growth in cities or markets where it is currently not present. It works with about 50 partners on a regular basis, spread across four cities and is going strong with its geo-expansion strategy in India this year.
“Channel Partners always play an important role in the success story of a vendor organisation. Similarly, our partners are crucial for our go-to-market strategy to further the agenda of flash storage, HCI and cloud data services. We want to make sure that our channel partners are well trained to represent us in the marketplace. We will continue to enable their growth, so that they can ally with our strategies and product lines,” says Kaushal Veluri, Director, Channels & Alliances - NetApp India & SAARC.
Kaushal says that investing in AI would be a good bet for its partners. NetApp recently launched the AI Centre of Excellence in Bangalore, along with NVIDIA to help its partners and customers navigate the world with AI.
Channel Structure & Strategy
NetApp’s channel partner strategy is based on three aspects – innovation, upskilling and revenue. Partners associate with companies which can help them catch on to the next wave of innovation with advanced technologies (such as AI, ML, DevOps, IOT) taking the front seat. Besides NetApp also drives events like NetApp Insight to educate its partners and upskill them on new technologies. It also conducts training sessions on a quarterly basis, where it organizes a Seven-city Partner Connect event.
NetApp has a ‘Partner Academy’ where its channel executives host one-hour open sessions with the partners. From a revenue perspective, it is implementing a reward system for the partners, every time they onboard new customers or sell NetApp solutions to the existing customers. This is done through back-end rebates and incentive schemes, where the back-end rebate cheque is automatically written to the partner and the payment gets transferred without hassle.
NetApp has also expanded its channel program by simplifying the existing processes and driving consistency around its go-to-market activities related to hybrid cloud, partner-led services, and partner rewards and levels. “We are adopting a customized approach towards our partner programs this year,” Kaushal adds.
There are different partner levels in NetApp and it has registered partners across categories like Silver, Gold and Platinum. To increase partner differentiation basis on the skills, competencies, industry experience and customize services for them, it is introducing a new top tier, the Global Star level partner. These will be highly select partners with global selling rights and certified across multiple geographies. The levels require constant revenue and investment in sales and technical resources.
For other solution providers looking to differentiate, NetApp is also adding a new recognition for those who can help customers with digital transformation. One of the other focus areas would be to ensure that the active partner percentage goes up by at least 10 per cent every year. For instance, if it has 10 active partners, NetApp will make sure that there are 11 or 12 by next year.